Homo Drag Out at Gay Bingo?
posted by November 14 at 8:02 AMon
This was originally posted yesterday at 5 PM.
For the past seven years Thom Hubert, a.ka. Glamazonia, has served as the drag hostess of Gay Bingo, a fundraiser for Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Seattle’s Gay Bingo—the first gay bingo event in the world—has always had a drag hostess.
But at a meeting at Lifelong’s offices today, Dave Richart, Lifelong’s new ED, fired Hubert. Considering the reasons for Hubert’s firing, it seems that drag isn’t welcome at Gay Bingo anymore.
“We’ve been going back and forth with my contract,” says Hubert. “We met two weeks ago, and they gave me the new contract for the season, and most of it was pretty standard. But they told me that everyone at LLAA had gone through sexual harassment training… and Lifelong’s new sexual harassment policy was paper clipped to the back of my contract.”
Hubert was told that all Lifelong vendors and contractors had to be familiar with the sexual harassment policy. Then Hubert noticed some new provisions contained in the contract itself.
“There was language how “the performer/mc will prepare material avoiding sexually suggestive material… will use appropriate language and avoid vulgar language,” says Hubert. “As a drag queen, if I stuck to this stuff by the letter, why, I’d have to wear a black robe and stand behind a podium and just read the numbers out. The contract said, ‘the host will not act in a flirtatious manner, will not wear reveailing clothing, will not make sexual gestures or comments.’ How could any drag queen appear or perform under these guidelines?”
Two words were specifically banned: fuck and cunt—and “any derivation thereof,” says Hubert, such as fanfuckingtastic.
“I don’t use ‘cunt,’ when I perform,” says Hubert. “But fanfuckingtastic? If we sold out I would be fired if a ‘fanfuckingtastic’ slipped out?”
Hubert asked for some time to look the contract over. He expected to sign the contract when he arrived at Lifelong’s office today; he had written some questions down about the new provisions in the contract, but he thought they would be able to work out an agreement. He was shown into a conference room with Dave Richart, someone from Lifelong’s HR department, and a member of the board.
“I was very cordial,” says Hubert. “I congratulated Dave on being named ED and then Dave took a breath and said, ‘Well, unfortunately, we’ve arrived at a crossroads and it’s time for us to sever our relationship with Glamazonia as host of Gay Bingo.’”
Hubert told Richart he was shocked but not surprised. Hubert then explained to the board member present that while he supported anti-sexual-harassment policies and would have been willing to undergo the same anti-sexual-harrassment training that Lifelong’s staff had, he didn’t see how any drag queen could serve as host of Gay Bingo under their proposed restrictions.
“I told them good luck finding someone who could perform within those guidelines,” says Hubert. “I stood, shook their hands, and told them it was a great run.”
Hubert posted the news of his firing to his MySpace page, where most of the commenters—Glamazonia fans, of course—are shocked and angry about the news.
Since its inception Gay Bingo has been a slightly naughty evening of bingo for gays and lesbians, and the event has been hosted by a string of drag queens—Mark Finley, Dan Savage (ahem), Chocha Fresca, Glamazonia—that specialized in revealing outfits, risque banter, and good-natured sexual ribbing. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are still, presumably, a part of Gay Bingo. But many of the sisters’ names are sexually suggestive, so maybe they’ll have to go too. And what’s going to happen when the O-69 ball comes up?
I’ve got a call in to Dave Richart at Lifelong.